Reducing Risk

The most effective means of protection are to practice safer sex, have regular sexual health checks and if you inject drugs to only use sterile injecting equipment.

For information about how HIV is transmitted you can visit the basic facts.

Know your status

Knowing your status helps you make the best decisions for managing your own health and keeping your partners safe. Visit our testing page for more information.

Use a Condom and water-based lubricant

Whether you are in a steady relationship with a single partner or having sex with multiple partners, using a condom during sex is one of the best ways to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Do you know that condoms come in different sizes flavours and sizes? For more information about condoms and water based lube, and where to get them, click here.

Other forms of contraception (including the pill) only help prevent unwanted pregnancy. To prevent HIV and STIs, condoms must be used along with other methods of contraception.

If you have HIV, using condoms and lube can protect you from being re-infected with a different strain. This could interfere with the effectiveness of any treatments you might be taking. Using condoms and lube also prevents passing on HIV to any future partners.

Have regular sexual health checks

Other sexual infections increase the risk of passing on HIV, and many have no visible symptoms so if you’re sexually active have regular check-ups even if you don’t have any symptoms. For more information about general sexual health visit sexual health Scotland

Speak to your doctor about treatment options if you have HIV

If you have HIV, being on treatments can be the most effective way of reducing and potentially eliminating the risk of transmission. There is now conclusive evidence, from heterosexual couples where one partner has HIV and the other does not, that if the partner who has HIV takes effective antiretroviral treatments, transmission of HIV through vaginal sex is significantly reduced (by 96%). You can read more about this on the BHIVA EAGA statement in policy library

Use clean injecting equipment

Never share needles or any other drug injecting equipment. The Scottish Drugs Services Directory is made up of local service providers who provide drug treatment and care.